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Mack Finds Payoff After Long Layoff From Ring

Times Staff Writer

Benie Mack figured he was in trouble.

It had been two years since the San Jose bantamweight had fought. So when he got what he thought was an offer of a six-round fight at the Reseda Country Club, he took it. That seemed to be about all he could handle at this stage of his comeback.

Somewhere, the lines of communication had gotten tangled up. Because when Mack arrived in the San Fernando Valley, he discovered he was a participant in the co-main event on Tuesday night’s card, an eight-rounder against Manny Olivas of North Hollywood.

But it was Olivas who found eight more than enough. Mack, knocking off not only his opponent but two years of rust as well, won a unanimous decision before a sellout crowd.

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Mack, now 8-1, alternated between aggressive punching and effective backpedaling in totally dominating the fight.

“I knew I’d be rusty,” he said, “so I backed off a little, knowing I’d start storing up energy.”

Mack spent his two years away from the fight game doing construction work.

“I ran into some back-stabbing managers who tried to ruin my career,” he said, “so I gave boxing up.”

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But when fight manager Frank Difiore got a look at Mack, the construction business lost a worker.

“He’s as fast as a cat,” Difiore said. “He’s a championship contender, but he was tired after the long layoff. He fought those last couple of rounds on guts.”

Olivas, whose record dropped to 8-3, suffered a deep cut over the right eye, but that wasn’t a factor in the fight.

In the first of the co-main events, a deep cut over the right eye of San Diego super bantamweight Alex Madrid (10-3-1) gave Eddie Rodriguez of San Jose his 13th win in 14 bouts. It was Rodriguez’s third knockout. The fight, scheduled for eight rounds, was stopped after four.

In preliminary fights, Greg Puente of Alhambra remained unbeaten (9-0-1) by winning a split decision over Lamont Baker (5-4) of Las Vegas in their six-round junior lightweight bout.

Puente had a guy in his corner who knows all about beating people, former featherweight champion Danny (Indian Red) Lopez, who now serves as his manager.

Welterweight Carlos Gutierrez of Venice lost his professional debut, dropping a unanimous four-round decision to Darrell Colquitt (2-0) of Los Angeles.

Roscoe Brown (3-1-1) of San Jose won a split decision in his four-round junior welterweight fight against Johnny Battle (3-1-1) of Las Vegas.

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